Beef tagine with sweet potatoes

Last night I had Fig over for dinner and Doctor Who (The Invasion of Time, if you’re interested. Well, episodes 1-5 anyway. We’ll catch the final episode next week.) and, because Fig had the day off and so was coming over a little later. I had the time to do a tagine. I’ve been meaning to do this recipe for ages, although, I must admit that one of the factors in my choice was that I sliced up waaaay to much sweet potato for the quiche that I made on Sunday and I needed to use it up!

The tagine was a qualified success – the sweet potato took much longer to cook than the recipe suggested. I assumed that being slightly submerged in the sauce, would, effectively, boil it. And that that, coupled with the steam in the tagine would work. It kind of did, but it took a lot longer than suggested, and I had to mush the potato slices down into the sauce quite a bit.Still, got there in the end. The recipe said to soak the slices in water to prevent discolouration between the slicing and the cooking, however it gave no indication whether this waterlogging would help with the cooking. As I’d pre-sliced the potato (admittedly by accident) and sealed then in an air-tight bag there was no discolouration so I didn’t bother with the soaking. Next time I’ll try it and see if it makes a difference. Hey ho.

Serves 4

1kg of blade steak (I used just over 500g of shin of beef for just the two of us.)
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
½  a teaspoon of cayenne pepper
½  a teaspoon of ground cumin
½  a teaspoon of ground ginger
1 teaspoon of turmeric
2 teaspoons of paprika
2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
2 tablespoons of chopped coriander
2-3 large tomatoes
500g of sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into thin slices

(I also thought that I’d add to the recipe by sticking in a (drained) tin of chick peas. I bought them in the morning, made the stew part of the meal before going to work, got home, assembled everything in the tagine, stuck it in the oven, and then spotted the unopened tin of chickpeas on the side! D’oh! Ah well, now I have bonus chickpeas!)

Trim the steak and cut into 2cm pieces. Heat half the oil in a saucepan and brown the beef. Once browned, set aside.

Reduce the heat to low, add the onions to the saucepan and fry gently until softened.

Add the spices and cook for a few seconds, then add salt, freshly ground black pepper and stir.

Return the beef to the pan and add the chopped coriander and parsley. Stir well to combine.

Add 250ml of water, cover and simmer for an hour and a half, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until the beef is tender and the sauce thickened. (I ended up using about 350ml of water in the end, adding a little more at a time if it looked like things were drying out too much. I also added a little more spice each time I stirred in more water.)

After the beef has cooked transfer the beef and sauce to a tagine. You might need to top up the water a little.
Pre-heat the oven to 180

Peel the sweet potato and slice it into thin (4mm) slices.

Lay the potato slices over the beef stew, pressing the slices down into the sauce.

Slice the tomatoes and lay the slices on top of the sweet potato slices. Place the lid on the tagine and cook in the pre-heated oven  for 45 minutes or so. (I ended up cooking it for more like an hour until the potato slices were cooked. This did mean that the meat was extremely tender by the time it was all done.)

After this time raise the oven temperature to 220, remove the lid from the tagine, move it further up the oven and cook for a further 10 minutes or so, until the tomato and potato slices are flecked with brown and tender.

Serve immediately with buttery cous-cous.



About neilche

Hi. My name's Neil. I live in Brighton with my flatmate (also Neil) and I work as a Librarian at a local college. I like cooking, eating and socialising with friends. Which is what prompted me to start this blog. I cycle everywhere around town - it helps to work off the calories!
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